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Only 3 nights/days san fran, help to narrow down restaurants

c
cali7 Aug 9, 2008 07:44 PM

My husband & I (early 30's) 1st trip to san fran, we love great food, atmosphere & need your help to narrow down our 3 lunch & dinner spots. We don't want anything too stuffy, just want to have fun & great food. Here's what we've come up with so far:

L'osteria del Forno
Laiola
Slanted Door
Nopa
Sociale
SPQR
A16
Delfina
Jardiniere
Incanto
Orson
Coco500
Canteen

Napa/Sonoma:
Wappo Bar
Girl & the Fig
Bardiva
Ubuntu
Willi's Wine Bar
Mustards

As you can see, I need help to narrow down this list. Also if you feel I've missed something, let me know..thanks so much for all your help!

  1. Ruth Lafler Aug 9, 2008 08:13 PM

    Where are you from? What kinds of restaurants do you like there? Does the three nights include one in Napa, or it is three nights in SF and one (or more) in Napa?

    1. w
      whiner Aug 9, 2008 08:58 PM

      The questions Ruth asked. But...

      From your list I would strike Jardiniere, not as good as several other restaurants in that price range, imo...

      Also, HUGE push for Laiola, which in many ways, is my favorite place iun the city, if you are looking for awesome Spanish food and a "going out", young type vibe. But it is not a place for romance.

      It will help if you give us more info on what you are looking for, though...

      3 Replies
      1. re: whiner
        rworange Aug 10, 2008 01:06 AM

        I'm guessing from the profile, New England

        You could do both Orson and Coco500 as they are within a few blocks of each other. You could have drinks and a snack at Orson. They have a nice happy hour during the week. Then you could walk over to Coco500.

        Out of that list ... definately Ubuntu

        Canteen would be my other SF choice. Haven't tried it yet but based on many reports it is a the top of my to-try list.

        1. re: rworange
          c
          cali7 Aug 10, 2008 05:36 AM

          Thanks for all your thoughts so far, think I will strike Jardiniere.
          We are 45min. outside NYC so we dine out alot in the city. We enjoy all types of cuisine; esp. Italian, Asian, Spanish and are looking for great food in a fun atmophere.
          We will be going to Napa for a day trip, not sure if we will do just lunch in Napa or dinner also. The 3 days/nights includes our day trip to Napa.
          Thanks for the Orson/Coco500 idea..think it's a good idea to try a bite at both.
          Thanks again everyone, this site is so helpful.

          1. re: cali7
            rworange Aug 10, 2008 08:25 AM

            Also what days will you be here? On Sunday/Monday some places are closed. Ubuntu only serves lunch on weekends.

            If you are here on Saturday, you might consider lunch at Slanted Door and stop by the Saturday morning farmers market at the Ferry Building.

            Another place you might consider is Aziza
            http://www.chow.com/places/23

            You can use Places to find check hours and websites for some of your choices to see what days they are open and what days they serve lunch.

            Hope you report back on wherever you choose.
            Yo

      2. Carrie 218 Aug 10, 2008 07:56 AM

        If your trip to Napa is *only* for a day, you have to decide if you want to spend more time eating or drinking. I would heartily suggest a good breakfast on the run, a drive up to Napa where you pick up some picnic nosh at Oxbow market (meats & cheeses and whatnot) and then save yourself for a hearty dinner at Ubuntu (Wappo, Barndiva, & Willie's are all in Healdsburg which is a considerable drive from Napa; Girl & Fig is Sonoma - not quite of a drive, but still time in the car).

        Otherwise, for San FranCISCO (we locals can always tell newbies by those who abbreviate it San Fran/Frisco - which is a definite no-no), I would add Aziza to your must-visit list (you can get good Italian where you are so I wouldn't bother with A16 or SPQR) and definitely consider Canteen and Incanto.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Carrie 218
          Melanie Wong Aug 10, 2008 09:36 AM

          Wappo is in Calistoga, Willi's Wine Bar is in Santa Rosa, and yes, Barndiva is in Healdsburg.

          1. re: Carrie 218
            w
            whiner Aug 10, 2008 06:20 PM

            I agree on skipping SPQR but dissagree strongly with skipping A16 on account of it being Italian. It is distinctly southern and, while you may be able to find similar food of similar quality, I seriously doubt it.

            Incanto, on the other hand, is much more generic CA/Provencal Italian and I *do* think there is a lot of that in NYC, if that is where you live. Sociale is very different from Incanto, but also more like Italian restaurants you might find elsewhere.

            1. re: Carrie 218
              hill food Aug 10, 2008 08:32 PM

              Carrie, I lived there for 10 years and I must admit I too have an irrational reaction, probably prompted by Herb Caen's particularity (who was from Sacramento!), but any abbreviation other than SF just grates on my ears.

              to the OP: we really are just trying to save a little face for you and the very best intentions are all around.

              1. re: hill food
                Xiao Yang Aug 10, 2008 10:43 PM

                Throughout most of SF's illustrious history until the Sackamenna Kid came along, it was not ashamed to be known as "Frisco" I'm a newbie, true, but when I was a kid it was often referred to as "Frisco" in the newsreels and that's good enough for me.

                 
            2. Paul H Aug 10, 2008 09:16 PM

              If it were me, I'd go to Coi, Quince & Incanto.

              1. r
                Ridge Aug 10, 2008 09:34 PM

                Go to Terra in Napa, I promise you wont regret it.
                Ubuntu is another favorite.
                Maybe I'm jaded but many of the SF places tend to be hit or miss these days: overly heavy food, overly trendy, overly rare meat and poultry.
                Coi was amazing when we went there.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Ridge
                  w
                  whiner Aug 10, 2008 09:52 PM

                  I would go to Ame in SF over Terra in Napa. Same owners, better food.

                2. w
                  whiner Aug 10, 2008 10:00 PM

                  FWIW:

                  For fun and great food, from your list, I would choose:

                  Laiola
                  A16
                  Slanted Door

                  Or subsittute out one and go to Ame, Boulevard, or Quince, if you want a really first-rate meal int the price range of Jardiniere.

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